BATMAN #17 Review & SPOILER Discussion

The final chapter in Scott Snyder's superb "Death Of The Family" arc hit shelves yesterday, so we'll assume most of you have read it by now. But if you haven't, WARNING, every major plot point will be discussed in detail after the jump..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 2/14/2013
So, Batman won!..but no, The Joker won, right? Yesterday one of the finest comic book story-lines in quite some time came to its shocking conclusion. Okay, you might say the biggest shock (the page below) turned out to be nothing more than a bluff from The Joker, but I'm not necessarily talking about what happened around that table, I'm talking about the possibly irreparable damage done to Bruce Wayne's "family", and the revelations about Batman's twisted relationship with The Joker.



Yes, Mr J certainly puts his arch nemesis through the ringer, but as mentioned above, it transpires that the villain didn't actually remove the faces of Batman's young pals. This seems to have been the source of most of the backlash against the issue. After all, why wouldn't he? His plan was to burn them all alive anyway, why waste time with false faces when we all know he's perfectly capable of removing the real ones? I see where people are coming from, and at the time I was also giving the comic the side-eye, but when I read the rest I came away with a slightly different viewpoint. It really doesn't matter that he didn't mutilate them, it only matters that he could have..besides, we can't have the youngsters fighting crime in Gotham without Chevy Chases now can we?

All that aside though, first time I read it I was disappointed. I guess it's inevitable after such a brilliant buildup that fans will expect a bigger, more definitive payoff. The Joker fell, but we know he's not dead. The fact that we know he'll return really doesn't make that much difference, I mean he'd find a way back even if Snyder had had him decapitated! Still though, it felt a bit anticlimactic. Bruce Wayne and his family return home with no permanent physical damage done and get on with their lives. But then you think back to what these two mortal enemies said to each other on the edge of the waterfall, and as you scan those last few sinister panels, it all becomes so clear that The Joker did exactly what he set out to do. Maybe not the ending I was expecting, but in some ways it was even more devastating than the things I had conjured in my mind. I suggest 2 reads, and then even a third, maybe after going back and reading the other issues - because I went from "meh" to feeling it might be the best ending we could have possibly gotten.

What did you guys think? Sound off in the usual place.









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Sparrowsabre7 - 2/14/2013, 3:25 PM
I think that they could easily have been removed and then later put back on. I mean the joker still has them on ice, there wouldn't have been any permanent physical damage (plastic surgery in comics is as neat as rubbing out a drawing and starting over ;P) but the mental and emotional trauma of the experience would've been pretty intense.
Sparrowsabre7 - 2/14/2013, 3:26 PM
Then again, he is the Joker. So as jokes go it's a pretty twisted one, I liked the element in the last few panels too, classic Joker.
IgnurRant - 2/14/2013, 3:28 PM
Meh, I'll be happy when Snyder is gone. Dude's overated
Jollem - 2/14/2013, 3:30 PM
overrated is overrated :)
samsupes - 2/14/2013, 3:30 PM
Well when it's said that someone will die, and in the end nobody does it's kind of a let down. If they want fans not to bitch then they shouldnt hype this story up as much as they did. Let it play out on it's own.
Robe - 2/14/2013, 3:30 PM
The joke is he could have but didn't.
RedBaron2814 - 2/14/2013, 3:35 PM
It was okay, but ultimately pointless.

DC hyped the hell out of this as some "epic, groundbreaking event that'll shake the Bat-family 4ever!!1" What we got was some prodding at some interesting ideas, but ultimately we get nothing of substance.
Shadowelfz - 2/14/2013, 3:36 PM
Thanks Marvelgeek219. No one died or got seriously physically harmed? Such a let down. It honestly wouldn't have been as bad had DC and the media (I saw articles on CNN for god's sake) screaming how it was going to be a "huge event that will change the Batman Continuity forever!" If they just said it will have an epic conclusion I can see that, but to make a grand proclimation like that and have no one die or even get physically harmed is a bit of a let down. Sorry if you think otherwise.

Now if Snyder actually goes through with the implications of this and have the family go rogue from him from this point on then, yes, it will live up to the hype. Time will tell.

On a brighter note I liked how they got into the Jokers twisted mind. He knew that Bruce was Batman all along but his role as the Joker stopped him from ever actually consciounsly acknowledging that is pretty brillant.
TheFox - 2/14/2013, 3:38 PM
I didn't think this was anti-climactic-- in fact, I thought the ending to this story was brilliant. But I can't go into it in more detail until I get back from work, so...

Yeah, I liked it a lot.

Z
nORKSOMA - 2/14/2013, 3:40 PM
@robe I agree i can't tell you what issue it was but there was a time when the joker went to Metropolis and infected Lois with his gas and told Superman the only way to save her was to kill the joker and use his blood for an antidote. Superman refuses and figures out that this is all one big prank to the Joker. The trick of the whole thing was that the poison would eventuallt wear off and the joke would have been that superman would have taken a life for no reason. I think the take the "familie's" face off was to do the same thing to Batman to go down the same road as well as scare the family members it's a more subtle but more insidious prank but that's what I read from it.
MrEko - 2/14/2013, 3:44 PM
It was okay, but due to the massive hype.... I was left feeling very "meh" about it.

There's no explanation for why Joker came back more ruthless and systematic. When the clown prince of crime who is the very physical manifestation of narcissism cuts off his face and starts a a brutal, savage rampage, you can't end the story with the typical "Joker: I did this for you Bats", we the fans already know this i.e. Joker is morbidly obsessed with Batman

.. I was hoping for an ending that delves deeper into the psyche of The Joker, especially one so conniving and ruthless. Oh well, i'll give it a "B+".

;)
JDUKE25 - 2/14/2013, 3:46 PM
I've said I'll I'm going to say about this story. Time to move on. Hopefully we get some NEW villains.
RorMachine - 2/14/2013, 3:49 PM
Maybe we will soon, but The Riddler is next for Snyder apparently!
AC1 - 2/14/2013, 3:54 PM
I can't wait to catch up with this in a TPB, but from what I know so far I'd be inclined to agree with what Levitikuz has been saying about the issue. I don't normally agree with him, but he seems to completely understand the point of this issue - to quote Levi "Joker did kill the Batfamily. Nobody is talking to one another, nobody wants to see each other. Joker broke their spirit and the family."

So he did cause the Death of the Family. And better still, he did it through a practical joke! It seems perfect!
CaptainObvious - 2/14/2013, 3:54 PM
This is how comics should be written. Not randomly killing off characters and pulling any half-assed revelations out of the trash for the sake of shock value and profit.

Anyway, I read this issue twice in case I missed any details. The final pages of the comic really lingered with me.
Thythoutrust - 2/14/2013, 3:56 PM
I reread the whole event last night.

It was an incredible story. Sure, it might have felt like it wasn't really ''rewarding'' because nobody died and the setup was beautiful, but the batfamily looked seriously scarred by the end of the book. This might actualy be the ''Death of the family''. They're now torn apart. Not a family anymore.

We don't know what the Joker told them when Batman was uncounscious. It must've felt like your mom telling you she doesn't love your father anymore, or something like that. I felt bad for them, reallt bad.

I can't wait to see the repercussions, especially with (hopefully) Damian's upcoming death.

I hope they get Tim to take off his stupid wings and come back as Robin.
AC1 - 2/14/2013, 4:00 PM
@LEVI oh yeah we're cool, I don't mean it in a bad way - it's just that we tend to have differing opinions on things. Like, you might have liked something I didn't, or I liked something you didn't. It's not a bad thing though.
JDUKE25 - 2/14/2013, 4:01 PM
Now Snyder could do some great work with the Riddler. I can't see it playing out to be as long as Death of the Family, but there should be some excellent suspense, mind-games and drama.



Shadowelfz - 2/14/2013, 4:02 PM
Joker DID try to kill the family, though. Batman's smart thinking saved the day... unless Joker already planned on Batman saving them. I wouldn't be surprised as he is a crazy mofo.

Also I do like how Synder had Joker make a point with it all... that the identies are not important to him. He only cares for Batman, Robin, Batgirl ect. and could care less about Bruce, Tim and the other because they essentially dont exist to him. Its like how many like James Bond but dont really care whose playing with them.

Still, I am in agreeance that he should have at least cut off their faces to show he doesnt care about who they are on the outside. Reconstructive surgery could have fixed the physical scars, but the mental ones would be faaar more lasting than an 'I could have cut off your face.'
TnTflash - 2/14/2013, 4:04 PM
i originally wanted somebody to die but it's a comic...they would have come back eventually so it's utterly pointless to kill someone off just to kill someone....

Now if someone did have to die...i loved in the batman and robin issue where alfred dreamt of blowing the jokers head off...now that would have been really interesting..

because think of it...joker threatens alfred's family all the time...it'd give him peace for sure...
but like i said...joker would never remain dead forever
TnTflash - 2/14/2013, 4:07 PM
The only thing that bugged me...came in the cross over issues...when Joker calls Nightwing Dicky-boy...and He happens to kidnap Barbara's mother...

well...and kidnapping alfred too...

so i do wish joker actually did know who they were
AC1 - 2/14/2013, 4:10 PM
@TnTflash imagine if Alfred killed The Joker! It's be unexpected, but it'd make sense too, and it'd cause all sorts of tension between him and Bruce.
TnTflash - 2/14/2013, 4:11 PM
still better than any over-populated marvel crap
Bandido - 2/14/2013, 4:13 PM
YES!! THE JOKER WON!!

I loved the last couple of panels with *SPOILERS* Bruce hanging out at the cave, the screen saying that jokers identity is still unknown and the Ha ha Ha

And the Arkham scene! Ah I seriously recommend ppl to read it multiple times to take it all in :)

@JDUKE25: I am pretty sure that the riddler arc starts at 21 and its 9 issues long, I'm happy it's not a crossover
TnTflash - 2/14/2013, 4:15 PM
Scott Snyder claims we'll be seeing Tw0-face, riddler, and penguin really soon...so hopefully within that riddler arc we see some other villains involved
Shamo - 2/14/2013, 4:23 PM
shit series. this book needs a new writer and artist ASAP.
TheSuperguy - 2/14/2013, 4:25 PM
@Levi
Now THAT'S what I'm waiting for! Bring on BATMAN: EARTH ONE VOLUME TWO & SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOLUME THREE!!!
TnTflash - 2/14/2013, 4:34 PM
haha shit series...give me a break
ScabbyJ - 2/14/2013, 4:37 PM
The problem is that it ended like any other arc. Nothing happened ultimately. Snyder pretty much promised w/ #14 that Alfred was blinded. Yet he wasn't. That was my biggest problem w/ it. Much like any other old story, there was nothing that will reverberate through the other stories besides some distrust, for maybe a year.

DC had a chance to make headlines... They played it safe instead.
Shamo - 2/14/2013, 4:39 PM
@ marvelgeek sure; the story is asinine. since the start of the New 52 theres been a constant dumbing down of the heroes in order to make the villains look credible. Winnick or Simone should be the new writer.
Bdaviet - 2/14/2013, 4:46 PM
Yea I was disappointed this actually the first Batman issues I've read outside a few of the GN's. did like the twist that Joker knew who Batman really was and couldn't act on it. Lame that he didn't really know secret identity of the others. Might have hooked me on Batman series though but I could live without all the offshoots of Batman. Anyone know the issues where Joker cuts his face off. Sry I'm a newbie so don't flame me fer not knowing. :-)
sinsear912 - 2/14/2013, 5:16 PM
Snyder is so over rated. He hasnt done anything new with these characters. The new 52 was a horrible idea. You basically rebooted character because hack writers couldnt come up with something original!
number1hero - 2/14/2013, 5:36 PM
Joke's on DC COMICS..I didn't buy this crap!
EtriganTheDemon - 2/14/2013, 5:39 PM
Lmao, a good Batman story comes out and everyone's like

"This guy is over-rated, blah blah [frick]ing blah, no one died."

He killed The Family emotionally, that's what Snyder is good at. He cut deep into Bruce Wayne's psyche, crossing a line they both mutually vowed never to cross, hurting the other where it hurts, by unveiling who they are under their guise and EXPLOITING it.

Any one expecting someone to die clearly hasn't read many comics in their life. Sh!ts getting old, man. Morrison's Batman was even a stretch for something fresh.

Now everyone's a wreck, and we get a wad of new plot threads for the next few years.

But complain some more, please. It's funny.

asdalhjljh - 2/14/2013, 5:40 PM
Given that Batman is such a lucrative franchise, it's impossible that DC would ever truly consider killing or seriously injuring one of their main characters again. Thus, mature, adult fans are left with the ever-present problem that every conflict will naturally end in an anti-climax, and that we will never see the Joker or anyone else carry out their nefarious plans and really disrupt the status quo of the Batman universe.

In the words of Shakespeare,

Each such dramatic storyline "...is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." No matter how great the threat, no matter how many characters' lives (or faces) hang in the balance, rest assured, dear readers of Batman, that at the end of each series, everything will return to its status quo, and nothing will have permanently changed(just like every episode of "I Love Lucy" where no matter how much she tries to break free of her traditional women's role, she always returned to it by the end of the episode).

DC has too much to lose by taking a good story to its logical conclusion.

The only people who will be fooled, time and again, are the kids...who, many would argue are far too young to be reading these books anyways...
SmellofDuty - 2/14/2013, 6:02 PM
@Levitikuz, I see where your going with the Penguin, but I also see his point about the tension that would be caused by The Jokers death. BattlinMurdock sums it up the best saying that they should die together. Yin and Yang without one there can't be the other.
MJPETTY7 - 2/14/2013, 6:04 PM
I really liked this story and the conclusion. Very solid in my opinion.
Anthonypilone01 - 2/14/2013, 6:21 PM
Scott Snyder should be fired for such bad story writing and adding disturbing images that only horror comics could be in.

This was a piece of crap.
This is one of the reasons why I want the real DC universe back!!!!
JatevinM - 2/14/2013, 6:32 PM
Anthonypilone01@....you clearly aren't a fan of good story telling and writting.

People dont realize that the worst and most horrifying damage is pshycological not physical. The Joker won this round and because of it...most of the rounds to come after. This was all nothing but a joke for him anyway and to prove it all you have to do is think about how he made sure Bats knew about the new ingredient he added to the Joker gas. The last page of the comic encompasses what all of this meant to the Joker.
TheSuperguy - 2/14/2013, 6:34 PM
The only DC books I'm still getting are:
Action Comics
Superman
Batman
Detective Comics
Batman & Robin
Batman: The Dark Knight
Batman: Arkham Unhinged
Legends of the Dark Knight
All of the Before Watchmen titles
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